9 Days. 1,900 Miles. 9 Icons of the West.
Feb 28, 2018
By: Chad Taylor
These sites are millions of years in the making –– but you can see them all in nine days. It's the Grand Circle Tour, expertly guided by Southern Utah Scenic Tours.
See enough canyons, cliffs, arches, bridges and petroglyphs to last a lifetime. You’ll go home with a profound sense of awe, a full memory card and several pairs of reddish socks. You could do the tour on your own, but why not spend more time wondering how the rock formations came to be and less time wondering where you’re going to stay/park/eat. That's where the experts at Southern Utah Scenic Tours come in.
We recommend letting Southern Utah Scenic Tours do the legwork so you can focus on the experience. (Meaning the planning legwork. They’re not going to carry you on the hikes. We don’t think.)
Day 1: Zion National Park
The tour begins in St. George (if you fly into Las Vegas your guide will handle the two-hour shuttle for you). You’ll spend the day in Zion National Park visiting landmarks like Angels Landing, the Great White Throne, and Court of the Patriarchs. That night you’ll dine and lodge in the adjacent town of Springdale.
Day 2: Grand Canyon National Park
Yes, Grand Canyon National Park is all it’s cracked up to be (get it?), and the drive from Zion is spectacular in its own right. On your way to the North Rim, you’ll see Checkerboard Mesa, drive through the Zion tunnel and pass by countless mesmerizing rock and sand formations.
Upon arrival, you’ll walk along the rim and enjoy a picnic lunch at a scenic overlook. An afternoon of exploration is followed by a trip to Page, Arizona for dinner and sleep.
Day 3: Lake Powell –Antelope Canyon – Page, Arizona
This area will add a massive splash of azure to all your trip’s red, orange, and yellow. You’ll begin with a float trip down the Colorado River, middle with a tour of Antelope Canyon by local Navajo guides, and end with a tour of Glen Canyon Dam.
Day 4: Horseshoe Bend and Monument Valley
After breakfast, walk out to Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado River. (Remember to pick up your jaw for the walk back.) Then it’s time to drive the road Forrest Gump ran to Monument Valley. You’ll get a full tour of this tribal park from the native Navajo and plenty of time to photograph the famous East and West Mittens.
Day 5: Mesa Verde National Park and Four Corners
Admit it, you know it’s corny but you still want to stand in four states at once. Your wish is your guide's command. Enjoy some time at this cartographic anomaly before heading to Mesa Verde National Park. You’ll see the famous Anasazi cliff dwellings and even tour “Cliff Palace.” You’ll have plenty of time to see the best-preserved ruins in the park and browse the museum. You’ll end the day in the quaint town of Durango, Colorado.
Day 6: Colorado’s Rocky Mountains – Durango and Silverton Railroad
Take an old-fashioned steam engine train ride from Durango to Silverton enjoying views of the San Juan Mountains, the Animas River and more. After lunch, you’ll set out for one of the most scenic drives in the country on the Million-Dollar Highway. Bonus treat: Stop in the old mining town of Ouray for ice cream before heading to Moab for the night.
Day 7: Moab – Arches National Park – Dead Horse Point
Begin the day at Arches National Park looking at... you know... arches. You’ll see all the famous ones plus a bunch you never knew existed (thanks to your guide) who will have become like family by now). Afterwards, you’ll head up to Dead Horse Point State Park then Canyonlands National Park’s Island in the Sky district.
Day 8: Capitol Reef National Park/Highway 12/Bryce Canyon National Park
Capitol Reef is big, wild and not that crowded. But it sure is purdy. Spend the morning there before embarking on the famous Highway 12 journey to Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah’s smallest but tallest). You’ll spend the rest of the afternoon checking out Bryce’s most impressive landmarks.
Day 9: Bryce Canyon/Back to Las Vegas
Watch the sunrise over the hoodoos, then hike from Sunrise Point to Sunset Point (which sounds like it’ll take all day, but it’s just a couple of hours). Then it’s time to head back to Vegas through Cedar Mountain, a route we like to call Slot Canyons to Slot Machines.
Click here for a more detailed itinerary, to see prices and availability, and to reserve your spot.